Smart Cities – Ambitions for the Future

Smart Cities – Ambitions for the Future

  • 31 March 2017
  • Posted in: Management & Leadership, Energy & Environment, Science & Technology, Planning & Development

“There is a rich history of disruptive innovation and the city stands on the brink of another great era. Devolution will allow Manchester’s radical spirit to shine through and become the UK’s smartest city.” Former Secretary of State and Greater Manchester mayor candidate Andy Burnham shared the host city’s ambitions for the future at Smart Cities and Communities: Achieving Smart Urban Growth.



Burnham told the audience that as well as infrastructure, industry and transport a truly smart city should work better for citizen and connect young people with their aspirations. He promised the audience that within in one year of being elected mayor he would hold a digital summit to explore how to make Manchester a world leading digital city.

Another city leading the way is of course the capital and London was highlighted in two opening case studies at the conference. Greater London Authority ‘s Dr Stephen Lorimer outlined the city data strategy that aims to harness commercial and citizen produced data to inform policy making. Creating a data market that combines with Internet of Things data will help exploit the value of data to deploy smart city solutions to meet demands, foster innovation and successfully engage with citizens.

“Leadership, co-ordination and connection to the tech ecosystem is vital now for serious digitisation of public services.” Dr Stephen Lorimer

Lola Fernandez-Redondo, Head of Integrated Planning and the Built Environment for Digital Greenwich, informed delegates about the £8m GATEway project underway in London. Following the wider strategy the Greenwich project aims to overcome the technical, legal and societal challenges of implementing automated vehicles in an urban environment.

“Something has to change. Private cars take 40 times more space than buses and occupy 80% of the city’s land area.” Lola Fernandez-Redondo

Fernandez-Redondo said it was not just the design of the vehicle but the design of the mobility service and design of the built environment that was vital. A more holistic and integrated approach will move urban design away from chaotic urban spread to a much more structured, sustainable and polycentric city.

The internet of things (IoT), data and smart technology were key areas of focus in the conference agenda. Smart Homes and Smart Retail were two exciting concepts referred to by Joe Dignan, Relationship Developer Corporate at Future Cities Catapult, as he explained what the future direction of smart technology looks like.

Andrew Till, Vice President of Technology and Partnerships at Harman International, brought the solutions to some of the biggest challenges currently facing cities. Till explained how Harman is helping to make cities smarter with real case studies on intelligent transportation, energy management and updated infrastructure through 3D printing.

A more citizen-focused approach was covered by Feimatta Conteh, Programme Manager at FutureEverything. She told the audience how the organisation is working to make issues and opportunities around the city tangible and touchable, allowing people to interact and provide feedback in real time. Through an open prototyping scope, FutureEverything, as part of the CityVerve project, is contributing to the dialogue between technology and society, and aims for solutions to be replicated around the world.

Initiatives for technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in the host city where covered by key organisations involved in the Greater Manchester devolution agenda. Nick Chrissos, Head of Innovation Technology at Cisco System and part of CityVerve Consortium, outlined the aims of the City Verve to create real solutions to real world problems, leading customers and partners to new markets and new opportunities through the use of cutting-edge technology.

  • smart cities
  • cities
  • Future Cities Catapult
  • smart
  • smart transport